ELECTION 2022: Q&A with Locust Candidates
Published 4:55 pm Friday, October 28, 2022
Editor’s Note: For coverage of the primary election, The Stanly News & Press sent questions to each group of candidates. We limited their responses to 200 words per answer. Answers appear as is, with the exception of editing for grammatical/ spelling errors or length. This allows potential voters to see the candidates through their own words and gives equal opportunity for the candidates to respond.
City of Locust
* did not answer
1. Tell me a little about your background?
Hypes: Locally, have been a part of the Lions Club, clerk at church, part-time customer service at Stanly Funeral Home. For eight years, wrote an article for Locust Patch every Saturday.
Served in the United States Air Force and the National Security Agency for total five years, 46 years in retail [10 years in Store Operations from store manager, district supervisor and Regional Sales Director of 125 stores.
An additional 36 years in real estate departments finding locations to purchase land, find locations in shopping centers and shopping malls. Mapping and marking all retail and reporting to executive committees including site visits. Once sites were approved, then began the negotiating of specifics of economics. This allowed analytical and negotiating skills as well as presentations. The states that I was responsible for: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Sims: I have had several things in my life that I feel have given me plenty of life experience that adds to one’s knowledge about the meaningful things in life.
Watson: I grew up in Concord and my husband and I moved to Locust after we got married in 2005. We’ve been here for 17 years and are raising our children here. We have a daughter that is 14 and a son who is 11 years old.
We own the Medical Pharmacy of Locust and Xpressit in
Locust and Albemarle. I’ve been a pharmacist since 2005 and love independent pharmacy.
Outside of work, we stay super busy with our children in different sports year round. We enjoy traveling and being at the beach when we have free time.
2. For newcomer: What made you decide to get involved in your community and run for Locust City Council? For incumbent: What has the council accomplished since you’ve been in office and why do you think voters should re-elect you?
Hypes: Pay off of sewer loans, and paying off of City Hall in nine years of a 40-year loan; SRO to Locust Elementary School; canine to the Locust Police Department; equipping the Police Department with less heavy vests; incentives for the Police Department to further their education and certifications; change of residential requirements to include width of lot lines, materials; re-evaluation of conditional use, rezoning and land use; highway speeds changed after state engineers’ presentation; Public Works minimize excess drain on the water/sewer capacity, install new pump station and repairs on existing pump stations; Parks & Recreation having the staff and new restrooms and office to ensure competitive facilities to recruit sporting events; City Hall remodel; no tax increase in 23 years; all street signs were replaced; all city direction signs replaced; new “Welcome to Locust” sign installed; addition of Retail Strategies to assist in the additional growth to Locust; City of Locust receiving national awards for their finance accountability and reporting; the last few years, the State of North Carolina has given credence and recognition for the finances of Locust; a coordinated plan to re-pave streets; planting of crape myrtle trees as entering Locust from the west.
Sims: I have always cared about the community I live in and feel it is important to be involved in events that could have an effect.
Watson: One of my most proud accomplishments as a council member has been implementing the School Resource Officer position at Locust Elementary in 2018.
I feel like this has been crucial to protect our children and educate them about law enforcement.
3. Why do you think you are the most qualified candidate for the position?
Hypes: Integrity, compassion, concern, and care for Locust; timeliness, transparency of cooperative efforts of City Council for the well-being for Locust and surrounding communities to provide safety, security, sensibility, maintain, train and equip departments; watchdog on budget items; flexibility in navigating through COVID and/or contentious matters; continuing to seek quality versus quantity on commercial and residential growth; control growth to ensure growth is in the guidelines.
If an issue affects Locust and surrounding communities, the people need to be heard and everything addressed. I live here and do not want to do anything that is not in the best interest of Locust. The City Council works together to insure this.
Sims: I always attend all city council meetings and currently serve on the planning and zoning committee and feel I could serve the city on council as well.
Watson: I am qualified for the position because I want the best for our Locust community. I am actively involved in the community between the schools, athletics and community events and can relate to many residents in Locust.
I am open minded and will listen to our neighbors and work in the best interest for each of them every day.
4. What do you think are the biggest issues most impacting residents in your community?
Hypes: Water, sewer capacity to accommodate growth. Roads and traffic issues to accommodate the growth whether signals, roundabouts, 4-way stop signs.
Sims: Quality of life for the city, making sure it grows within it’s means.
Watson: I think the biggest issue impacting our residents would be creating smart steady growth and development for businesses in Locust.
5. What would you focus on if you got elected/re-elected?
Hypes: While the public is offered an opportunity to sign up to make comments or ask questions at each council meeting, I would encourage more attendance with whatever means to get the message out. Social media is not the avenue for negative comments.
The attendance at the council meetings would provide the education necessary of the process of decision making. As a councilman for the City of Locust (the city with a soul), we believe as a citizen living, working in Locust, we need all the residents to be a part of the decisions that affect us all as we navigate through all that affects our city.
If the public is not in attendance, I call this “the loudness of silence.”
Sims: Cities have to grow somewhat or they will stand still, the important thing is to make sure it doesn’t outgrow it’s infrastructure, for that would be as bad as not growing at all. To help insure that the quality of life and the growth are in line with what it’s citizens want.
Watson: I think my focus would be on continuing to support smart, steady growth commercially. Also, as a parks advocate, I will continue to focus on growth in our youth with athletics and community events.